Wednesday 22 February 2023

Wild Bird Wednesday 552 - White-faced Heron

The White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) is a common and widespread bird that occurs throughout the whole of Australia and also occurs in Indonesia, New Guinea, New Caledonia and New Zealand.  In my part of the world it is the default heron that you can expect to see pretty much every time you are birding.  It can be seen on almost wetland, and also feeds on the coast.

This bird was really using the 'wait and see what comes along' approach to hunting - and in the end it was prepared to out-wait me!  More or less the only thing it did as I was watching, was glance up a passing flock of small waders and blink once or twice!

I think we can overlook common birds, especially in the quest for rarity - but think this is a good looking bird!  

As ever to join in with WBW click below.  SM

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Wednesday 15 February 2023

Wild Bird Wednesday 551 - Wedge-tailed Eagle

Not has many pictures as normal for this week's WBW - in fact just three.

These are the first pictures I have managed to get of a Wedged-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax) on the ground - or in this case a post.  All my other pictures have been of birds a very long way up in the sky.

The Wedged-tailed Eagle is Australia's largest bird of prey, and is more or less the third largest eagle in the world.  This bird landed briefly on a fence post in the open fields that surround Werribee Sewage Works.

I grabbed my camera and took a burst of about 10 images, and then the bird flew off - more or less at ground level - away from me and my camera.  I suspect that the eagle was looking for rabbits - but I may well be wrong.  This eagle can be found over much of Australia - and can even be seen about an hours drive from central Melbourne.

A large brown-to-black bird , it has a maximum reported wingspan of 2.84 m (9 ft 4 in) and a length of up to 1.06 m (3 ft 6 in).

I have included 'the bad hair day' picture because I like it! 

As ever, click on the link to join in with WBW.  SM

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Wednesday 8 February 2023

Wild Bird Wednesday 550 - Brolga

The Brolga (Grus rubicunda) is one of two species of true Cranes that occur in Australia. (The other species - The Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) - only occurs in parts of Northern Australia)

The Brolga is widespread in northern and eastern Australia - but like many birds that rely on wet and swampy habitats, its range and abundance has declined as development has eaten into our wetlands.  

A fully grown brolga can reach a height of 0.7 to 1.4 m and has a wingspan of 1.7 to 2.4 m Adult males have an average body mass of 6.8 kg with females averaging 5.66 kg . The weight can range from 3.6 to 8.7 kg.

In other words, they are an impressively large bird.

These birds were loafing about (rather predictably) at the Werribee Sewage Works - where they are established as a breeding species.  After spending some time with the most obvious bird, I noticed a second head popping up through the vegetation about 20 meters away from the first bird.

Apart from a bit of preening and general feather maintenance these birds were not very active - there were many frogs calling in the area and I suspect both birds were waiting for their next meal to hop past!

As ever to join in with WBW click on the link below.  Cheers  SM

PS: Just noticed that this is the 550th WBW in a row!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Wild Bird Wednesday 549 - Tested Terns

 At the end of last year I had the opportunity to help with the banding of Crested Tern (Thalasseus bergii) chicks in a colony on Mud Islands in Pot Philip Bay. 

These are the 'default' tern in my part of the world - but it was still wonderfull to see them at their breeding site.  It was, to say the least, very noisy!

The aim of the day was to be there when large numbers of the chick were capable of running, but not flying.  At this age we were able to pursued the chicks to walk along the beach towards a set of net we had placed on the beach.  The nets had a wide entrance which we could close behind the chicks - and once they had been herded into the net we closed the 'gate' on them.  The parent birds did not approve of this action and were very vocal their protests!

The chicks were banded and released within a few minutes, and it was wonderful to see how quickly the adults found their chicks.  It was advisable to wear a hat during this process as the adult birds would often peck you on the head!

If you ever get a chance to be involved in an activity like this, grasp it with both hands!

As ever, to join in with WBW click on the link below.  SM

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter